Definition of ungainly in English:



  • (of a person or movement) awkward; clumsy.

    ‘an ungainly walk’
    • ‘Under the low slanting ceiling of the bathroom, he seems clumsy and ungainly.’
    • ‘Finding that they did, he tried a few ungainly steps toward the door.’
    • ‘But there was also a beauty in the ungainly awkwardness but obvious enthusiasm of the supporting roles.’
    • ‘Do we identify with the ungainly, terrified wretch who will soon be dead meat, or do we get a thrill imagining ourselves as the sleek, athletic predator?’
    • ‘The high ceilings and unbroken expanses of wall in such a house can make the rooms seem awkward and ungainly.’
    • ‘Taylor was always playing catch up against an energetic, ungainly player who just would not lie down.’
    • ‘I was always a bit awkward and ungainly as a child, so I thought that maybe I was just on the clumsy side.’
    • ‘He was an ungainly figure and when he danced, many whistled, hooted, and laughed at him.’
    • ‘Not so large that they were ungainly and made him clumsy, but not so small that you would be suspicious of him.’
    • ‘I was ungainly and I was bored by sport, which in Australia is a sure sign that you're a bad person.’
    • ‘He felt clumsy and awkward in the air, his body too ungainly to be properly streamlined.’
    • ‘The thin, ungainly boy didn't seem to have the makings of a star gymnast.’
    • ‘He was one that fans may not have taken to straight away because he's ungainly, but he would have won them over with his goals.’
    • ‘In spite of the ungainly figure he cuts, there is something instantly soothing about the monk.’
    • ‘Seeing how terribly the trip strained the ungainly mother, Indira was amazed at her stoic determination to continue.’
    • ‘Her steed mumbled something inaudible as he restarted his ungainly walk to the church doors.’
    • ‘Holmes's ticket did have a red circle and he stood in an ungainly stance that was in keeping with his disguise.’
    • ‘Another ungainly blow from me, and my sword was met with the blade of Conrad's sword and was quickly swept aside.’
    • ‘That most people walk in an ungraceful, ungainly and awkward manner with a forward inclination of the body does not mean that it is the normal way of walking.’
    • ‘Mothers and fathers send out the message that boys are awkward, ungainly and silly.’
    awkward, clumsy, ungraceful, graceless, inelegant, gawky, gangling, maladroit, gauche, inept, blundering, bungling, bumbling, lumbering, uncoordinated
    inexpert, unskilful, unhandy, oafish, bovine, like a bull in a china shop
    cack-handed, ham-fisted, ham-handed, butterfingered, all thumbs, hulking
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Mid 17th century: from un- ‘not’ + obsolete gainly ‘graceful’, based on Old Norse gegn straight.